Adelaide’s SXWZD (Sex Wizard) are set to release their second album, ‘Grey Matter/White Matter‘ on CD, LP and Digital formats on October 19th via Clarity Records / Shock. Pre-orders have now commenced and you can secure you copy of the album [Here] with a few options already close to selling out. To find out a little more about the album and how it all came together, the band took the time this week to answer our On The Record questions. Expand this post to take a read.
Tell us about the release title.
The new record is called Grey Matter / White Matter. It came about from a pressure cooker think tank evening involving a couple of us who knew that we’d faffed about for 13 months without even thinking about a title and suddenly realising we needed one. The titles you missed out on were Blood.Sugar.Sex.Wizard, Wizard Camp, Digital Afghan Rug… what a shame.
Tell us about the artwork.
One of the ex-wizards, bass-player-formerly-front-man-of-jungle-fever-fame-Gabe-Delaine did the artwork. The idea was to have something that wasn’t stereotypically hardcore looking and it stemmed from Jiggzy sending these low resolution geometric black and white patterns to Gabe who then adapted it to a dot pattern design and obnoxiously repeated so that it gives everyone a headache. He also was the brainchild of the clear varnish print just to throw some more confusion into the mix. We all really love the simplicity of it and we’ve had Gabe do our previous album and he was responsible for all of the Jungle Fever art. He definitely has an eye for design and knows how to make something memorable.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
Release will be on cd digi-pak, vinyl (limited run of colour and also black) and of course, post-Y2K digitally downloadable.
Who will it be released through, and when?
The amazing Mr Football at Clarity Records will be releasing this on his Clarity label! It will be available nationally through Shock distribution and out 19th October 2012.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded at Capital studios, which was convenient since we jam there, and our drummer Jimmy runs the place. It’s a mixture of being a studio and his man cave since he lives a showerless life there in sub-zero conditions over winter. I don’t know much about the specifics of a recording studio, well at least the names of things so I’ll try my best. It has a couple of rooms with glass in them, a few upside down doors, lots of black leads, some of which don’t go anywhere, a nice big desk with colourful lights and buttons, great sounding live room, good monitor speakers and of course the token random person who no one seems to know who is just lurking inside the building.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
The whole band effectively works as a producer of the album in terms of the sounds we want, song structure etc so that’s a no brainer. Our engineer was Jimmy (aka James Balderstone) who is one of the drummers in the band. We chose to record with him for all the obvious reasons that I won’t go into but it also gave us more control and time over what we wanted to do. It was both a blessing and a curse for us as we definitely took way longer than we should have doing this record and much of it was stressful as whenever you work internally manners are never withheld so there were some explosive times over the past year. However, we’re stoked with how it all turned out so that was just part of the colourful and slow journey!
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
It was the first time that we’d recorded with the two drums other than a demo that was never released. From a technical point of view I know it was a nightmare recording both drums simultaneously and there’s a lot to be learnt from this process. The song structures were all there but we really shaped how they sounded by the way we recorded the tones for the guitars and bass – i.e. whether we duplicated guitar tracks, used fuzz, used distortion or a combination of both, what amps we used etc. I could ramble on about this for ages. Vocally things are shaken up a bit from the last album and we’re all excited about the direction that things are taking. We hope to push the boundaries which let us stay under the hardcore umbrella but not let things get too stagnant for us or anyone willing to listen to us.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
I can’t speak for the others, but I was listening to anything that didn’t sound like this band. We all have pretty varied tastes in what we listen to… for instance Adam and Jimmy listen exclusively to Nu-Metal, Aaron only knows about the band Eyehategod but that’s irrelevant since he wasn’t in the band at the time of the bulk of recording, Cale was listening exclusively to the Jackson 5, Deano usually listens to American apparel and political lectures and Jiggz pretty much listens to his young child ask him for things.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
This is probably best answered by taking a random stab at any of the 90’s heavy alternative bands in the grunge, metal, rock, pop, hardcore genre. I’m not really one to compare sounds of bands or between genres, not because I think that we’re necessarily unique, of that I am artistically pretentious or anything like that but purely because I am hopeless at that sort of thing!
How long did it take to record?
We nailed the drums and guitars in a short period of time in August 2011. Then we didn’t do anything on it. Fast forward to march 2012 we did some more guitars. Then we didn’t do anything. Fast forward to May and we did some more guitars and vocals. Then we didn’t do anything. In late June/July we realised it was pretty much a year since we started so we did bass, vocals, mixing and mastering. It took a long time but if it was in one chunk probably a couple of weeks.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
Well, as described somewhere above it was pretty sporadic and went something like this. ‘Can we record blah blah next weekend/week/month?’, ‘I’ll check with blah blah….nah sorry blah blah is busy…can we do it next season?’, ‘I don’t know…let me check….hmmm…nah – how about next year…’ Painful, no?
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Yes. Bands should record everything in one go, you can take that organic approach and let things sit and mature and give yourself time to make changes but that’s just a front for the fact that you’re a bunch of lazy hacks that are too unmotivated to get off your collective arses and do it!
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Most of our studio guests just ended up derailing our studio time, causing studio drunkenness and/or silliness.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Everything we use live we used on the record but we also used a variety of equipment that would be too silly to cart to live shows. We used a plethora of pedals; digital and analog delays, a couple of different fuzz pedals – mainly the EHX Green Russian, Fender Blender, the Marshall Guv’nor for bone crushing distortion, Marshall JMP 71, 2203, Orange 4×12, Marshall TV 4×12 cabs, Ampeg bass head & 8×12 cab, and two different drum kits. I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t know much about the drum kits, but one is older than the other – maybe a vintage Ludwig? Let’s just say one kit goes boom, the other one goes bang.
Any memorable studio moments?
Adam vs Jimmy in the studio was memorable and also reminded us why two drummers was the dumbest idea that we’ve ever had.
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Negative. Though we did have one song that used a POG2 pedal and it sounded like a rock opera. I was glad to see the back of that song. Weird. A little too weird.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
I always enjoy playing Freight Train but I look forward to playing this in full flight with new vocals, as I do with the track ‘The Outside’ which was previously an instrumental track that we haven’t played for a couple of years. We added vocals, some overdubs, a solo – it sounds much better. Pretty much any of them will be fun to play live – we’ve been holding back recently so that we don’t play or bore people with the songs before the record is released.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
In some ways less hectic and definitely sounding more developed but stylistically and tonally. I think it’s a pretty natural progression for the band and for anyone who has followed the band since Thrush days will appreciate that. Hopefully it’ll maintain and entertain anyone who enjoyed the band before as well as attracting others as it’s less hardcore orientated, though don’t let that description put you off. Jiggzy still sounds like a demented cookie monster.
Anything else you want to say or tell us about the release?
It would be nice if people listened to this album, but most importantly don’t forget the importance of actually supporting local bands both live and by purchasing their music, not because any bands really think they’ll make money out of being a band, but from the pure reality that things like recording and touring cost money plain and simple. So, I’d prefer that the musical train in all its weird and wonderful glory doesn’t stop rolling!
Pre-Order your copy now through Clarity Records [Here].